The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, has placed Lebanon as a “reference for peaceful coexistence between religions” in the context of the conflict currently occurring in the Middle East and has stressed that Spain will maintain its support for the country, both military as well as in development cooperation. At a press conference in Beirut after meeting with the Lebanese Prime Minister, Nayib Mikati, Albares acknowledged that the situation in Lebanon “is very worrying”, since since October 7, when the Hamas attack against Israel and the start of the military offensive in Gaza, there have been clashes between the Israeli Army and the Lebanese Shiite militia party Hezbollah on the border between the two countries. “Spain wants to collaborate to put a containment block on the spiral of violence that is being experienced in the region” and to do so “Lebanon is one of our partners for peace,” said Albares, highlighting that it is “a democratic country that can and should be a reference for peaceful coexistence between religions”. Thus, he has made it clear that “the survival and prosperity of Lebanon are key to stability in this region” and the Mediterranean in general, which is why Spain has been by his side and will continue to be. In this sense, he has made it clear that the commitment to the UN Mission in Lebanon (FINL), in which more Spanish soldiers are deployed and commanded by General Arolfo Lázaro, “will be maintained.” The Spanish military “contributes every day to avoiding a regional escalation that we have to avoid at all costs,” he stressed. Likewise, Albares has assured that Spain will continue to support Lebanon in the face of humanitarian needs in the country as a result of the regional crisis. In this sense, the minister plans to visit Spanish Cooperation projects in the country tomorrow, which will be included as a priority in the new Cooperation Master Plan 2024. HE CONFIDS ON TRAVELING TO ISRAEL SOON Albares has justified that his first tour to the Middle East does not precisely include Israel or Palestine, explaining that their counterparts were not in their respective capitals and that they decided to visit the two countries in which Spain currently has troops deployed “to convey a message of support” to both Lebanon and Iraq. , where you will travel next. “I have no problem traveling to Israel, I will do so without a doubt as long as the agendas agree,” he assured, thus ruling out the persistence of any problem with this country after the diplomatic crisis sparked by statements by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, which led to the withdrawal of his ambassador in Madrid, who is now back. “My intention is to be able to visit Israel and also Palestine” at the same time, he added, ensuring that “this is the first of many trips” that he will make to the region, “because one of the objectives of Spanish diplomacy and foreign policy is to maintain stability” in the Middle East, he pointed out. REQUESTS A CEASE FIRE AND THE RELEASE OF HOSTAGES Thus, Albares has taken the opportunity to once again demand “an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza”, “access for immediate humanitarian aid” to the Strip and “the delivery of tax funds from Israel to the Palestinian National Authority”, as well as the release of all hostages held by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. “The suffering of the civilian population in Gaza is unbearable for us,” said the minister. “We cannot allow ourselves to continue seeing more deaths of women, girls, boys, and innocent Palestinian civilians. We cannot continue to endure the suffering of the families of the hostages who must be released immediately,” he added. Likewise, he has reiterated the need to convene a peace conference that leads to the recognition of “a realistic and viable Palestinian State” as the “best guarantee” for Israel’s security and also to the recognition of Israel by the Arab countries.